By Mathieu Normand
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For the refuge for dogs and cats of the Norman Society for the Protection of Animals (SNPA), located on Lacroix Island in Rouen (Seine Maritime)the critical period for dog abandonment is no longer limited to summer. It displays “complete” in this month of July 2022, but works flow more than tense for several months already. “Since I started here, five years ago, I have never seen this,” assures its director Emilien Couturier.
Largest reception structure in the regionwith 106 dogs and 60 cats in its midst, cared for by 11 employees and about fifteen volunteers, the shelter also provides pound role for the city of Rouen and surrounding municipalities, as far as Eure. “There are so many dogs left on the public highway that have to be placed in the pound, then for adoption after eight days, that since January I sometimes can’t even take abandonment. I have seven to eight calls a day. »
“700 dogs that come home every year”
For Emilien Couturier, these many abandonments would have the same cause in many cases: “People choose animals in relation to their physique and not in relation to their needs. ” Canine educator and behaviorist for 18 years, the director of the SNPA advises rather to take the time. That of finding out about the different breeds, seeing which ones exist and whether their needs are in line with their lifestyle. And in the case of a purchase in breeding, that of choosing a serious breeder who will be able to accompany future owners.
The Malinois are currently among the biggest victims of abandonment in France because too many people do not respect this reasoning. They are also present at the Rouen refuge, with other working breeds, but the structure is above all “flooded” by staffs and other molossers. The latter occupy nearly two-thirds of the boxes in a difficult and stressful daily reality, despite the investment of the SNPA teams.
Fortunately, nearly half of the “700 dogs that come home each year” are placed with owners. The SNPA has developed an entire ecosystem of partners to care for and relocate animals (even when it comes to a pig, a llama or any other unusual arrival, as may have happened). “We also work with narcotics. We detect a potential in certain dogs, which we manage to replace in the brigades where they flourish. »
Unlucky dogs go back for adoption. “We don’t practice euthanasia here,” assures Emilien Couturier. Except for serious illness or in the case of “really complicated” dogs. “It must concern one or two dogs per year. We work with a veterinarian, and we always give ourselves time with the dog, three to six months, before making such a decision. »
Adopt a dog or a cat at the SNPA
To adopt an animal, it is possible to switch to hours open to the public. When it comes to a dog, it will be necessary to give certain information, and to plan at least three walks in the presence of a member of the team. “This allows us to get to know people and to be able to direct them to an animal that will match them”, assures the director of the structure.
The SNPA is available to subsequently support new owners and help them and their animal manage the transition to a new home.
Need donations to better care for animals
In order to be able to take care of its occupants as well as possible, the SNPA is trying to improve their daily lives by making arrangements. “We are in old premises. A lot of work has been done, but some repairs remain to be done and are expensive. She still manages to move forward on this issue, like the cat house opened a month ago. It allows felines to flourish in larger and soundproof spaces, and to facilitate meetings with future adopters.
Secure land should also soon be allocated to the refuge by the City, via an agreement to allow it to take dogs out in the wild, as part of the redevelopment of Île Lacroix. Still, the situation is very complicated. “The SNPA is now in deficit of 300,000 euros. “And the strong activity is accompanied by significant expenses for the association, in particular “20,000 euros in veterinary costs per month”.
For this, she appeals to the generosity of people by accepting all kinds of donations. Food for dogs and cats, of course, but also hygiene products and any element involved in facilitating daily activity.
• PICTURES. The SNPA refuge in Rouen is full:
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